Gus - The Decision

So, how does one decide to do the big getaway? Well, to some degree life decides for you. We were living in a place with a high cost of living, and had all our money tied up in our home. With a reduction in income that started us going backward a little each month, we knew something had to be different.

We also recognized that our life had been unadventurous for quite a number of years, and that it was entirely possible based on how things have progressed with my health, that by the time I could retire, I might be unable to do quite a few more things than at present. Having always preached that life is not about what you have (while only half believing ourselves),  we elected to put our money where our mouths are.

So, the plan to sell the house and do something different was obvious. What, became the question. We looked at properties in places we could afford, and found them each to have drawbacks. From cold to mosquitoes, to high prices, to urban crowding, nothing tickled us. So what about the ability to pick up and go? OK. How? Well, anyone exploring this will recognize a number of options, but they boil down to two things: tow it or drive it?

We’ve already lived aboard a small sailboat, so we recognize the importance of space. We looked at numerous trailers, from compact to enormous fifth wheels. Then of course, one requires a tow vehicle. We looked at F350’s and Ram 3500’s. These are pricey suckers. They do give you the option to drop off the trailer and go roaming in comfort, if not economy. Quality was a concern. The build quality of so many trailers was sad. We see them as overpriced, for what you get. The same can be said of some motor homes. We realized we wanted to see wood and leather, and home like accommodation.

So the option shifted to a good quality motor home. The price difference between good new and trailer-quality new is crazy. You go from the low $100k to starting around $400k. Clearly, a new machine was out of the question for us. Perhaps I should elucidate on trailer-built quality. In our eyes, trailer built means composites materials, photo-realistic wood, flimsy doors. These may reduce weight, but also reduce life expectancy, durability, tactile feel, and fit and finish. Better coaches have real wood, limited plastics, Corian counter tops and so forth. In our case, we have leather seating surfaces on the chairs (yes, they are nogahide on some surfaces).

Anyway, in the end we selected a class A built briefly by Winnebago, who have an interesting history. Ours is from the Ultimate line, the model, Freedom. Sadly, this does mean Ultimate Freedom is emblazoned across our hull in several conspicuous places, with a large logo of the liberty bell, no less, as a backdrop.

We have one slide, expanding the living room and kitchen - however, one of our criteria - the coach is completely functional without pushing out the slide. We saw machines where the fridge was inaccessible etc. We have the choice to leave the slide in and get on with business as usual. At time of writing, snow is threatening, so I’ve elected to close the slide to save wear on the protective awning, and prevent leaks from snow potentially blowing under then melting.

There is small provision for visitors, in that there’s a flaten-out couch, but the rig is truly intended for two. And that’s how many we are (not including critters). The fridge is ample, the two burner range adequate (and fast to heat), and the convection/microwave large enough for a medium turkey. The diesel genset produces 50 amps of power, and runs reasonably quiet.

Perhaps the best advice we got was from a Salt Spring  couple who have been RVing full time for something like twenty years. You’ll never get it perfect. We hope this configuration suits us, and serves us well for years to come.